An aviation security staff at the screening point of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano has been arrested for allegedly stealing $600 from an intending passenger’s hand luggage.
A source at the airport told NewsGazette that the Kogi State-born GL 8 staff, identified as Hassan Mohammed stole the money from a bag while the owner was undergoing a pat down.
“A male passenger dropped his bag and walked through the metal detector. After the passenger had dressed up, he picked up his bag and noticed that it was not properly zipped. He hurriedly opened it and noticed that some money had missed from his bundle of dollar bills. It was $600. He raised an alarm. Mohammed and one other staff became the prime suspects. When both men were checked, they found the money on Mohammed. We collected the money and handed it over to the owner who left immediately as he was almost late to catch his flight,” said the source.
On interrogation, Mohammed was said to have confessed that he saw through an x-ray machine that there was some money in the bag and had to open and take some of it while the passenger was being screened.
He said Mohammed who is barely two years old in the system was reprimanded verbally and transferred from the international screening point to the hajj and cargo section of the airport.
“Aviation security staff at MAKIA do a lot of things that passengers may not expect. Incident of stealing from passengers’ luggage is commonplace here. Only vigilant air travellers are able to detect that their luggage have been tampered with. Those who do not suspect anything before leaving the screening point mourn their fate when they get to their destinations,” the source added.
When contacted, the acting general manager, corporate affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said she could not get information about the matter from MAKIA authorities.
“Sorry, I haven’t been able to get any feedback,” she said in a text message sent to NewsGazette on Thursday.
The source also said that on a certain day of the week, security at the airport is relaxed to the extent that people stroll in and stroll out.
“Some days ago, somebody was found roaming in the airside. He was neither a passenger nor a staff of the airport or any airline. He could not explain his mission and how he gained access to that sensitive part of the airport,” he added.
Meanwhile, trouble is brewing in AVSEC directorate over the creation of new portfolios and usurping of other states’ quota by employees from a certain state in the north central geopolitical zone.
It was gathered that one Jacob A. W., a primary school teacher was employed recently on GL 13 as Assistant Chief Instructor and posted to the training school.
“What would a primary school teacher instruct aviation security personnel-in good manners, how to greet or brush teeth properly? That he is aviation security staff does not qualify him as an instructor. It is akin to employing a roadside mechanic as the chief medical director of a hospital,” said the source.
After series of protest, the ‘instructor’ was re-assigned to the traffic section “but he keeps his assistant chief instructor designation.”
It was also learnt that during one of the verification exercises of AVSEC personnel, one state in the north central was found to have exhausted its quota and was using its citizens to fill the quota of some states in the south-south geopolitical zone.
“I have come across some AVSEC staff who claim they are from my state but when I interacted with them in my language, they couldn’t utter a word. There are some names in Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Cross River and few states in the north central that sound alike or are similar. When you look at the forms filled by some AVSEC employees, you discover that some staff from one of the north central states claim indigenes of some south-south states because of similarity in name. None of them can pronounce the name of the local government area or village they claim in their forms. This fraudulent practice has been going on for many years.”